05/18/2016 11:16AM

Howard hoping fortune rubs off on Ahh Chocolate

Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Neil Howard will start Ahh Chocolate in the Grade 3 Allaire duPont Distaff on Friday.

Neil Howard’s visits to Pimlico are fairly rare, as he’s made just 17 starts here since 1979. But when he does come, it’s with a good horse.

Of Howard’s four victories at Pimlico in that span, three have come in prominent stakes – the 1990 Preakness with Summer Squall, the 2003 Pimlico Special with Mineshaft, and the 2014 Sir Barton Stakes with Class Leader.

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On Friday, Howard will saddle Ahh Chocolate for the Grade 3 Allaire duPont Distaff. Hoping for a bit of good karma, he has bedded the filly down in the same stall in the Pimlico stakes barn that champion Mineshaft occupied during his visit.

Mineshaft won the Pimlico Special by 3 3/4 lengths in the slop, his third consecutive graded stakes victory that year. In all, he would tally six graded scores that year – four Grade 1 – to earn Horse of the Year honors.

Ahh Chocolate won the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap in her 2015 finale. She has been third in both of her starts this year, the Esplanade Stakes at Fair Grounds and the Grade 3 Doubedogdare Stakes at Keeneland.